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blue the sky from east to west

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(In the beginning the mothers of earth and sky, Vraitetram and Naevitera, created the world, and gifted the ocean depths to their brother, Aveilassus.

The three of them created the creatures of earth and sky and water, and each bore godly children of their own; to Vraitetram, gods of forest and mountain and, later, of fields and farming; to Naevitera, gods of the sun and the moon and stars; to Aveilassus, gods of storms and shallower waters and, later, of sailing and navigation.

The mothers and their brother existed long before humanity, long before Vraitetram’s whimsical decision to make a beast in their image that could see and hear and taste their divinity and speak back to them in their own words, but that beast grew to be intertwined with them; to worship them and feed their divinity, and to shape the forms of their children and their children’s children. And so the world was born, and the Llaerika people and their gods thrived.)

It takes long generations before the Llaerika begin to worship the dawn for itself, the birth of a new day as a ritual and more than simply an extension of the sun. A blink of an eye for the gods above them, once, but longer now that they’re tied in with humanity. Long enough that when Naevitera meets Lácheris for the first time, the girl trailing after her father and looking soft and muted next to his blazing presence, the first thing she finds herself thinking is that Lácheris seems so young.

She’s brighter once Euraselios has left her in Naevitera’s care to tend to his duties, his midday glare no longer overpowering the warmth of her, but she’s still a tiny little thing. Strong, though; she was born from her forming cult almost as much as she was born from Euraselios and Dimeneris, and there’s a blazing power to those new gods who form with worship in their very first breath. Her cult is one that’s been fast-growing and popular, too, and as Naevitera watches this girl, with her long soft curls of almost-pinkish blonde hair and the faintest smattering of golden freckles across her skin, she can understand why.

Naevitera has always had an affection for those whose domains touch her own, no matter how faintly, but there is something about Lácheris that she thinks would speak to her even if the girl were the most depths-bound of Aveilassus’ kin.

The image of perfection is, admittedly, marred somewhat when in conversation with Lácheris. The girl is temperamental and flighty; liable to flicker between emotions in a rush and to shift topics quicker than Naevitera can keep up, her face twisting into a scowl whenever she’s made to slow down or to return to a topic she’s moved on from. She’s very much of a kin with her weather-god cousins and Naevitera, more accustomed to her own more cosmic children - constant and steadfast by nature, for the most part - gets the feeling she’s not impressing Lácheris much.

It’s unfortunate, she thinks, because Lácheris is definitely impressing her. For all the difficulty in dealing with her, Lácheris is quick-witted and bright and beautiful, and Naevitera suspects that she’ll find her feet amongst them soon enough and calm a little in the process. She’s not truly a weather god, for all her similarities to them, and she’s bound to settle once her cult have gotten themselves more in order. Naevitera just hopes that the girl won’t have tired of her and her slowness by then.

“You can come back anytime you’d like,” Naevitera tells her, when night falls and Euraselios comes to fetch her. Lácheris only tosses her hair in response, disappearing off to Euraselios’ carriage quicker than he can stop her to urge politeness.

“I do apologize,” Euraselios says, his blazing eyes flicking between Naevitera and the path Lácheris took to leave. “Lácheris is young, and she hasn’t yet—”

Naevitera holds a hand up, and he stops short. “It’s fine,” she says. “She was wonderful company, though I fear she wouldn’t say the same of me.”

Euraselios looks conflicted, but where his daughter is all bright indifference to Naevitera’s station, he’s the opposite, and in the end before leaving he defers to her with a simple, “Yes, Sky-Mother.”

Lácheris visits her again, but always tugged along by Euraselios or Dimeneris, and generally with a stubborn twist to her face; she does not want to be in Naevitera’s halls, clearly, and insists on making that known in the set of her lips even if her parents chastise her for trying to make it known with words.

“I wish she wanted to be here,” Naevitera tells Vraitetram once. “Or failing that, that her parents wouldn’t insist on bringing her anyway.”

Vraitetram blinks at her, and then tosses her head back and laughs, full and throaty.

“That girl has you well and truly fooled, sister,” she says, at Naevitera’s questioning look. “She talks of nothing but you - I haven’t seen someone so smitten amongst our ranks in lifetimes.”

She contemplates her sister for long moments and then adds, voice sly, “Is she not alone, perhaps?”

Naevitera brushes her off, flustered; “I think I would know if she were smitten.”

“Would you? We all know that you haven’t taken a lover since your last hero, and Dimeneris was called upon to bless the birth of her grandchild’s grandchild years ago now.”

The memory of the human girl that Naevitera had loved so many years ago now still stings, and she sends Vraitetram away before she can say something she’ll regret. Her sister pauses, though, on the way out, and tells her, “Lácheris really is smitten with you, you know. And you with her, if I know you - which I do, sister. Take a chance on it. The girl might be changeable, but she’s no human. She won’t flicker out.”

She doesn’t get an answer, but she clearly hadn’t expected one; she only offers Naevitera a last smile before she leaves her in her halls alone.

Naevitera calls Lácheris to her halls herself, for the first time. It seems to put her out of sorts, and Naevitera regrets it even as she’s a little glad of it - that makes two of them, this way.

“My sister,” she says, “Believes that you’re smitten with me.”

Lácheris sucks in a sharp breath - unnecessary, an affectation picked up from her human followers - and averts her eyes. There are spots of pink blooming across her cheeks, and they grow darker the longer Naevitera watches her for a response.

“The Earth-Mother,” Lácheris says eventually, and then pauses, considering her next words. Not every consideration is flattering to Vraitetram, Naevitera suspects.

“The Earth-Mother… could have a point,” she settles on. “Perhaps. What of it?”

Naevitera can’t help but smile, and it widens further when Lácheris darts a look at her and then away again, scowling in a way that’s definitely embarrassment this time.

“My sister also believes that I’m smitten with you,” she tells the girl, and Lácheris darts another look at her.

“And… does she have a point there?”

Naevitera’s smile doesn’t break for a second as she holds her hand out toward Lácheris, lets her catch it and then pulls her forward into a kiss that she suspects will leave the next morning’s sunrise something dazzling and perhaps half as beautiful as its deity.

“She might,” she says against Lácheris’ lips when they pull apart. “Perhaps. What of it?”

(the answering scowl is undermined, somewhat, by Lácheris kissing her again)